Training in substance-assisted psychotherapy


For about 10 years it has become increasingly clear that the field of substance-assisted therapy with psychedelics—especially psilocybin, LSD and MDMA—is on an upswing. New experimental research and therapy studies are being carried out and published on an ongoing basis. Meanwhile, "key opinion leaders" in the psychiatric field have opined on the topic and are shaping the new image of these extraordinary drugs.

As a consequence of these developments, the need for psychotherapists with the necessary specialist knowledge and sound practical training, including self-experience with the medications they use, is growing. Groups that conduct therapy studies responded first, by way of training their study therapists. These include COMPASS and MAPS. The Swiss Medical Association for Psycholytic Therapy (SÄPT) and the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS) offer training based on long tradition with extensive experience. Their approaches are oriented more toward comprehensive education than to specific processes.

In the following, the training courses of these various institutions are briefly presented.

Training in therapy with psychedelics at the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS)


Over the years, the CIIS in San Francisco became a leading institution in the field of consciousness research, particularly with research into exceptional states of consciousness. The CIIS has had an excellent reputation for 50 years of university education that brings together consciousness studies, Far Eastern and Western psychology and psychedelic studies. The well-known psychedelic expert and psychotherapist Ralph Metzner was a professor and dean at CIIS for decades.

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The therapist training of COMPASS


With the support of investors, the COMPASS company has been trying for some years to establish psychedelic treatment for depression with psilocybin. It has launched phase 2 studies in several European countries and aims to bring psilocybin through the very complex phase 3 study process to obtain regulatory approval for the pharmaceutical market.

COMPASS training requires prequalification as a psychiatrist, as a psychologist with psychotherapy experience or as a health care professional with a relevant master's degree such as registered mental health nurses.

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Training of the Swiss Physicians Society for Psycholytic Therapy (SÄPT)


The SÄPT was founded in 1985 at the suggestion of Peter Baumann. The purpose of the company is ‘to make psychoactive substances suitable for psycholytic and psychedelic procedures available for practical psychotherapeutic use, to control their handling, ... and to offer the theoretical and practical training necessary for their handling’. The association today has around 60 members, primarily from Switzerland and Germany.

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Training for MDMA-based psychotherapy for PTSD


The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedleic Studies (MAPS) training program for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy was developed by Annie Mithoefer and her husband Michael Mithoefer in collaboration with MAPS and introduced in 2012.

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